Thursday, 30 January 2014

Statement on the by-election results in Vredendal, Ward 4

The Patriotic Alliance did not achieve its desired results in yesterday’s by-election, but we proved that we are a political force and must be taken seriously. Indeed, our political opponents certainly no longer underestimate us. The presence of top officials from the province’s senior structures during this by-election have confirmed that and the amount of work that these parties had to do in order to beat us also shows that the Patriotic Alliance is a force to be reckoned with.
As of today, this party is officially two months old. We entered this by-election shortly after this party’s formation and signed up hundreds of IEC-registered voters as members in the Vredendal area. We have hundreds more who will be registered by the time of the national election. What is happening in Vredendal will expand across the rest of the province and the country.
It took the presence of at least four ANC ministers, including Trevor Manuel, wholesale intimidation of our voters (including physical violence against them) and what we believe was a shameless manipulation of the voters’ roll for the ANC to win this election. The DA, too, sent top officials, including Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille. Even with them having done that, they were not sure that they had indeed done enough. This election was not about winning a ward. It was about attempting to humiliate the Patriotic Alliance. But they failed to achieve that in any way. The green wave will continue to surge.
There were two voting stations yesterday, one on the farms and one in the township. On the farms, the ANC took 176 votes, the PA took 139, the DA took 121 and TPICO took three. There were five spoilt ballots. We were heartened that we were able to beat the DA in a place where they are often strong. In the township, the ANC received 562 votes and the DA 560 votes. The PA won 301. TPICO took the small remainder, less than 4%.
It goes without saying that the ANC and the DA are heavy political players and are well established. TPICO has four council seats in the municipality and the mayor himself contested for his party in this by-election. In this context, the level of support the PA received is extraordinary. It is a moral victory, if not an outright one. Almost a quarter of Vredendal’s people came out to give their vote to the PA. For a new party, that is extraordinary.
We, along with the DA and TPICO raised serious concerns about the fairness of this election. We as the PA have proof that the voters’ roll was seriously compromised in favour of the ANC and that the IEC attempted to frustrate our efforts to win here yesterday. This is a fight that goes far beyond the matter of one town council seat.
The IEC is this country’s most important institution. If we cannot trust it, then all hope for the future of democracy will be lost. The PA will not stand idly by and allow this to happen. We raised our concerns in writing with the IEC three days before the election and all of our fears were realised. The IEC will have to explain how these things could have occurred under their watch and flouting every principle they were established to defend.
All the same, our presence in this election has raised the level of political contestation considerably. Hundreds more voted in this election than in the municipal elections of 2011. The PA exposed the serious weaknesses of the other parties, who have had a chance to prove themselves in these communities for decades and have failed in numerous ways. Our presence finally made them realise the true cost of failing the people. We will continue to have a presence in Vredendal, which will ensure that the level of political engagement by the established parties will have to remain at a high level or we shall surely defeat them in the years to come. The PA exists because of dissatisfaction with how the big parties treat our people. If our existence alone changes that, then we have achieved our aims, whether we ever win one election or not. But we trust and believe that we will win in future.
We are grateful and humbled by the votes we received. These are people who have put their faith in the PA and we resolve that while we may fail to win all the votes, we will never fail any of our voters.
We must thank all our selfless and hard-working canvassers for their weeks of tireless effort. We thank the party members and volunteers in the community who stood shoulder to shoulder with us. Our heartfelt thanks go to Jacky Gorden, our candidate. Jacky, there will be another round and we will not lose again. We also want to thank the four white voters from Vredendal who cast their vote for us. They understand that we are a non-racial party that wants to put the needs of people (not a certain kind of person) first. People is why we are here and people will keep us here.
We have learnt much during these first two months and it will stand us in good stead for the bigger fight to come. The message is clear: we stand strong, with one aim, united and undeterred.
Never has anyone found more encouragement in the face of defeat. We came here with nothing and left knowing hundreds of compatriots are behind us.
Yours in patriotism,

Kenny Kunene

Secretary-General, Patriotic Alliance

Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Patriotic Alliance's by-election in Vredendal

In three days, the country will see if it is possible for a party barely two months old to win an election.
Granted, it’s a by-election in a place few people have heard of. But it’s a place where the message of the Patriotic Alliance (PA) has been heard daily by the mostly coloured population who live in the township of Vredendal Noord and the just more than 20 grape farms surrounding it.
The DA won the ward in 2011, but their councillor, Patrick Bok, walked over to the ANC, confident that he could take the people’s votes with him in a by-election. But at the beginning of January, he would have been distressed to see a stream of people in green T-shirts flooding the town. Suddenly, there were ever more locals in green. Particularly on the farms, the Patriotic Alliance has found the people very receptive to the promise of a party that could be a viable, strong alternative to the DA and the ANC. The PA’s campaign has been about constant visibility of canvassers, signing up hundreds of people as party members, handing out shirts, dishing out fliers, arranging competitions and braais, painting and fixing the houses of elderly women in the ward, offering a free legal service and following up with the freshly minted members about what they want to see changed in their ward. On Saturday, the plan was for 120 Cape Minstrels to parade through the town in support of the PA, something most people in the town have never seen.
In response, the ANC has attempted to discredit the party by instructing its canvassers to reference rumours in the media that the party is headed by gangsters, that its chairperson Jonas White was facing corruption charges from when he was still an ANC mayor, that if they vote for the Patriotic Alliance, their peaceful hamlet will be flooded with drugs and guns. It’s not a message many seem to find credible, although it has made some in the community doubt the green wave. But the PA goes back and puts its side. Only the vote tally will decide whose story was the most credible.
The Patriotic Alliance has no governance track record, but when you speak to people on the farms they’ll tell you that their circumstances have changed little over the last 20 years. In the township, many back yard dwellers will tell you they have been on the waiting list for a house for more than 15 years, yet they’ve seen people arriving from elsewhere to squat in the area, only to be placed in RDP houses within a year or even months. Whether it’s true or not is immaterial. What matters is the perception that the established parties have failed on many of the big issues.
In response, the ANC has ordered two ministers to the area in the past two weeks. Last weekend, it was Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson who, according to reports from those who were at her government meeting with farmworkers, spat fire and invective at the Patriotic Alliance. On Friday, it was Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, again heading to the farms. The DA sent Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille on Tuesday and reports were that Premier Helen Zille herself would attend the party’s rally in the town on Saturday.
All this for a ward of a few thousand people in a little “dorpie” 300km from Cape Town up the West Coast. If the PA is not a threat, as both parties have repeatedly said, why then treat it as one?
For these parties, this by-election is about much more than just Vredendal. It’s about trying to break the green machine before it has a chance to get up to speed. Because particularly in the Western Cape, this town has proven that the Patriotic Alliance could become a headache and a hurdle to both of the big parties’ Western Cape ambitions: to the DA’s attempt to keep their slim majority in the province and the ANC’s quest to win it back.

PA by-election candidate Jackeline Gorden on the campaign trail in Vredendal

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Patriotic Alliance Statement on the Line Fisheries Debacle: DA fights only for white rights while ANC misfires across the board

DA fights only for white rights while ANC misfires across the board

Att: All Media
Statement by Gayton McKenzie, president of the Patriotic Alliance:

The ownership of line-fishing quotas since their last awarding in 2005 and before have been majority-white. Each of those quotas represent a business opportunity for the holder. It is thus clearly and primarily the rights of white line-fishermen that the DA has vowed to so staunchly defend over the last week. They do so with vigour and determination but cannot show the same enthusiasm when a black or coloured complainant begs them for help.
This is not a surprise, because the DA has long established itself as the watchdog of white monopoly capital interests. However, especially in the Western Cape, the DA has enjoyed the support of non-white voters, who hoped their faith in the DA would lead to change for them and their families. This has not happened and will not happen.
The rights of traditional communities, who have a long history and association with fishing, have been steadily eroded. As Chief AbrĂ© Hector of the recently established Traditional Khoisan Marine Hawkers Association, with whom the PA is consulting, has stated, the rights of the direct descendants of the “Khoi and Bushman peoples of Africa have been grossly infringed, from the days of colonial interests by men like Cecil John Rhodes and his peers in the British South Africa Company until today”.
These policies against our people have turned them into criminals who are forced to poach in their own waters. But they are the descendants of the people who laid eyes on those waters first in the predawn of history.
By resolutely looking the other way as non-white communities have been robbed of their rights, to allow big business almost total control of our national marine wealth, the DA has betrayed the trust of the Cape people who voted for them almost five years ago. Little has changed for these people – our people – in that time. The DA becomes volubly upset only when a small community of white fishermen are hard done by by the ruling party – whose motives must also be questioned.
The PA is totally opposed to any outcome that lowers job opportunities for people in fishing communities, especially those who work on the boats themselves and the hawkers and communities who rely on fish as part of their daily diet. It would be most unfortunate if Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s department, in an effort to promote transformation, actually makes life harder for historically disadvantaged communities. Her department has been dogged with scandal and reports of mismanagement. They no longer have the resources to protect and maintain our marine wealth, a lapse overseen by Joemat-Pettersson’s inept administration. This latest debacle must be viewed through the lens of the department’s past inadequacies. The task of fixing our fishing industry and the important economy around it is too much for them to deal with.
We as the Patriotic Alliance have made the reform, transformation and reinvigoration of the fishing industry one of our keystone policies. It is an issue that goes to the heart of many of the communities that support the party in coastal regions. We look forward to the day when the sea is returned to the people!
Gayton McKenzie

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

On the withdrawal of Rashied Staggie from the Patriotic Alliance

Mr Staggie informed the party earlier this week of his decision to formally withdraw his support from our party and from politics in general at this time.
We fully understand what he and his family are going through. It is a difficult time for them.
We have accepted his resignation as an ordinary member of the PA.
Mr Staggie is a good man and we wish him and his family all the best.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Tweede Nuwejaar carnival

PA secretary-general Kenny Kunene will be parading today with the Patriotic Alliance Boys in the Tweede Nuwejaar Carnival in Cape Town.

The Patriotic Alliance has made a commitment to funding heritage institutions of local culture, such as the annual carnival. The PA puts the needs of local communities first.